The last post dealt with extraterrestre/extraterrestrial and two other words based on Latin terra ‘earth.’ Still another is the extended territorio/territory, borrowed from the territrium that already existed in Roman times. We’ve extended that extension to extraterritorial, an adjective that means ‘outside of a given territory or jurisdiction.’ From Latin terrnus ‘of the earth’ we have terreno/terrain (with the English version coming via Old French from Vulgar Latin *terrnum). English also has the doublet terrane, which means ‘a geological formation; a group of rocks having a common age or origin.’ With a different suffix we have terraza/terrace.
Medieval Latin terrrius ‘of the earth’ gave rise to Old French terrier, which appeared in the phrase chien terrier, literally ‘earth dog, ground dog,’ which designated a type of dog that would pursue hunted animals into their burrows (in the ground). Eventually the second word came to stand for the whole phrase and to be the name for the type of dog that English still calls a terrier.
© 2013 Steven Schwartzman